NEW YORK — Bonhams Fine Watches, Wristwatches & Clocks auction on December 12 will feature a rare diamond-set engraved and enamelled gold singing bird snuff box by Jean-Georges Reymond, with a musical movement in the shape of a bird attributed to the legendary Swiss makers les frères Rochat (est. $120,000-180,000). The luxuriant gold box features the monogram of the Turkish Sultan Abdul Aziz's (1830-1876) son atop a circular lid, which opens to reveal a vibrantly coloured singing bird. The base of the lavish box contains a clock, opulently encircled with pearls.
"This splendid box was likely a gift from the Sultan on the occasion of the birth of his son, Prince Shehzade Mahmud Celaddin Efendi," explained Dr Jonathan Snellenburg, Director of Clocks & Watches at Bonhams New York. "It has all the quintessential elements that appeal to collectors of fine pieces from Jean-George Reymond and les frères Rochat, like the charming singing bird automata. It's a sumptuous masterwork of early 19th century Swiss clock making."
Among the many other jewelled treasures in the superb December 12 auction is a fine enamelled gold, rock crystal, jade and diamond Art Deco pendant watch by Cartier (est. $12,000-18,000). An example of Cartier's iconic pendant watches designed in the 1920's, this elegant lady's watch marks the transitional period between the fob watch of the Belle Époque and the increasingly popular bracelet watch of the next decade. Additional sparkly stunners include an enamel, diamond and emerald pendant watch and chain from Patek Philippe (est. $20,000-25,000).
Handsome men's wristwatches on offer include a notable selection of gold chronograph examples, such as an 18K gold Rolex from 1965 (est. $50,000-80,000), among the finest available at the time, and a rare and very fine 1940s 18K gold chronograph from Audemars Piguet (est. $30,000-50,000).
A fine and rare 18K gold rectangular Patek Philippe wristwatch from the collection of Andy Warhol is sure to attract attention from wristwatch enthusiasts as well as contemporary art connoisseurs (est. $30,000-40,000). Although Warhol owned over 200 watches, he rarely wore any of them. In true Warholian fashion, he preferred to simply acquire and admire.
Historic clocks from various centuries will also be available. Highlights include a William and Mary ebony striking bracket clock with pull repeat by Joseph Knibb, made in London circa 1685 (est. $80,000-100,000), and an important late Louis XV ormolu clock made in Paris circa 1765 (est. $30,000-50,000), wherein a standard neo-classical urn has been transformed into a novel clock. The hours and minutes are indicated by numbered bands rotating around the body of the urn, thus becoming a pendule à cercles tournants.
Bonhams Fine Watches & Clocks sale will take place December 12 in New York. Highlights from the sale will preview at Bonhams Hong Kong November 20-23. The complete sale will preview at Bonhams New York December 7-12.
A fully illustrated catalogue is available at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21038/
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com